As the year 2023 draws to a close, savvy business leaders understand the importance of reflecting on the past year’s performance and strategically planning for the future.
Effectively evaluating progress and creating a robust plan for the upcoming year are pivotal methods for creating and maintaining sustained success.
In this blog, we will explore key strategies for business leaders to assess their progress in 2023 and outline methods to construct and adhere to a solid plan for 2024.
Evaluating Progress in 2023
Before you start making plans for 2024, it’s important you understand where you are at the end of 2023. That means looking at the goals you set for yourself at the beginning of the year and understanding whether you’ve met these targets, or where shortfalls might be occurring.
What’s more, while it might feel far away now, this will give you a good idea of how far you’ve come at the end of 2024.
In order to evaluate effectively, you’ll need to take a look at the following metrics in detail.
- Key Performance Indicators (KPIs):
Begin by revisiting the KPIs established at the beginning of the year. These metrics are essential for quantifying the successes you’ve had over the year and identifying areas that may require improvement. Evaluate how well the business has performed against these indicators and analyse any deviations from the set targets.
- Customer Feedback and Satisfaction:
A successful business prioritises its customers and clients. As part of your goal setting from the beginning of the year, you should have started to collect and analyse customer feedback to gauge satisfaction levels, if you didn’t already. Identify areas for improvement and address any concerns raised by clients. Customer satisfaction is a key indicator of a business’s overall health and sustainability.
- Financial Performance:
Scrutinise financial statements to assess revenue growth, profitability, and overall financial stability at all points in the year. Compare actual figures with the projections made at the beginning of the year. Understand the reasons behind any disparities and use this information to inform decisions for the upcoming year.
- Employee Engagement and Productivity:
Your workforce is a critical component of your business. Assess employee engagement, job satisfaction, and overall productivity. A motivated and engaged workforce contributes significantly to a company’s success. Identify areas for improvement in workplace culture and address any concerns raised by employees.
- Personal Successes
As a business leader, it’s not just important to look at how your business is performing against its targets. As part of your plan for 2023, you should have made clear goals for yourself, which allow you to get the most out of both your professional and personal life. If you didn’t think about including these in your 2024 plan, and look at the moments you’ve felt like you’ve achieved a personal goal in the last year.
By looking at all of these metrics, you can gain a clear picture of what has been working and what hasn’t.
This puts you in a position to make accurate plans for the future, and maybe even adjust the way you’re measuring success in order to promote growth and success, both in business and personally.
Planning for 2024
With a better view of your previous year, you’re now in a better position to start looking at what the future holds in 2024.
To start your planning process, it’s time to utilise key methods to make the next year one of growth and continued success.
- TOWS Analysis
You most definitely will have heard of SWOT analysis as a way to plan for the future, but here at Ascentis, we prefer to use TOWS analysis for a more competitive edge.
The beauty of the TOWS analysis lies in its ability to break the mould of conventional strategic thinking. It encourages a proactive, future-oriented approach rather than a reactive one.
By placing threats and opportunities at the forefront, you’re compelled to strategise from the outside in.
- Set Clear Objectives:
From your TOWS analysis and your review of 2023, you can establish clear and measurable objectives for the upcoming year. Ensure that these objectives align with the overall vision and mission of the business.
What’s more, you should be setting personal goals too, like setting aside time to think strategically, or dropping your working days down to enjoy family time – whatever that might look like to you.
Setting specific and realistic goals provides direction and motivation for the entire organisation, and for your own progress as a leader.
- Allocate Resources Wisely:
Evaluate resource allocation and identify areas where adjustments are necessary. This includes financial resources, manpower, technology and even your own time as a leader.
By ensuring your resources are aligned with the strategic objectives, you can maximise efficiency and effectiveness of your business and your finances. It’s something that we at Ascentis work closely with our clients to achieve.
- Create a Timeline and Action Plan:
Develop a detailed timeline for the year, breaking down major goals into smaller, manageable tasks and delegate where necessary.
Assign responsibilities and deadlines to different teams or individuals so accountability is firmly in place and progress is made throughout the year.
Having a well-structured action plan will keep everyone on track and accountable for their contributions.
Sticking to the Plan
It’s one thing creating a plan and another sticking to it to ensure you remain on track throughout the year.
As business leaders, the temptation is to get involved in the day-to-day operations of running your business. However, using your time to ensure your targets and plans are on track is far more beneficial to your business, and to you as a leader.
- Regular Monitoring and Adaptation:
Continuously monitor progress against the established plan. Regular check-ins allow for early identification of potential issues and provide an opportunity to make necessary adjustments.
For you, this could look like blocking out a morning of your day to ensure you’re working towards the target you said. Few business leaders do this, but those who do reap the rewards.
- Employee Involvement and Communication:
Foster a culture of open communication and involve employees in the execution of the plan. Clear communication of goals and progress fosters a sense of ownership among the workforce, enhancing commitment to the overall objectives.
To understand more about your team and how they work together, it’s a good idea to utilise DiSC profiling. This will help you to understand the strengths, and also the weaknesses of others you work with, so you can ensure they have the tasks and responsibilities that will help them, and you, excel.
- Technology and Automation:
Leverage technology and automation tools to streamline processes and enhance efficiency. This not only saves time but also reduces the likelihood of human error.
At Ascentis, we specifically work with businesses to streamline and automate financial processes, saving them time and money to help promote growth, and the results are substantial.
Take a look at this case study for an example of how we worked with our client to gain financial mastery, and reduced time spent on his accounting considerably.
- Regular Reviews and Celebrate Achievements:
As part of your reviews of your progress, it’s important to celebrate achievements, no matter how small. Recognising and rewarding milestones motivates teams and fosters a positive work environment.
Make 2024 Your Year!
Effectively evaluating progress and planning for the future is a continuous cycle that requires careful consideration and strategic thinking.
By embracing a data-driven approach, setting clear objectives, and fostering a culture of adaptability and communication, business leaders can navigate the challenges of the ever-evolving business landscape.
As we approach 2024, the key to success lies in learning from the past, embracing the present, and strategically planning for the future.